How’s this for a dinner party:
Three generations of Miami Dolphins quarterbacks — Bob Griese, Dan Marino and Ryan Tannehill.
And their host? Only the winningest coach in NFL history.
A few weeks back, Don Shula organized the A-list quarterback summit at one of his popular steakhouses.
“We talked football,” Tannehill said Tuesday. “Heard some old stories and had a good time. It’s nice. You have two Hall of Fame players, a Hall of Fame coach sitting at the table with you, there’s just so much knowledge, so much experience.”
Perhaps some of Marino’s legendary temper rubbed off on the Dolphins’ No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft.
Because Tannehill was red hot during Tuesday’s opening practice of minicamp, chewing out receivers Rishard Matthews and Gerald Ford on separate occasions.
In part, it was boiled-over frustration after he threw an interception and misfired on several other occasions.
But it was also a glimpse into Tannehill’s new place in Miami’s hierarchy: Atop the player leadership pyramid.
“To come out here and have that on our first day of minicamp is really kind of unacceptable,” he told reporters after practice. “Now I’m more apt to step up and say something and make a statement. That’s part of playing the quarterback position. Now I feel more comfortable. I have the respect of my teammates around me and I can do that.”
We saw a bit of that fire during the 2013 season, when he sent an argumentative Matthews off the field during a game. But nothing at the decibel level of Tuesday’s scoldings.
During one play, Matthews cut off his route, but Tannehill threw to where he believed his receiver should have been. The quarterback got in his teammate’s face and yelled: “Hey, keep playing!”
It’s precisely the kind of accountability coach Joe Philbin wants to see from Tannehill as both enter their third seasons in Miami.
“A quarterback has to have that confidence and trust,” Philbin said. “Ryan’s a competitive guy, and he wants to make sure everybody’s on the same page.”
This spring has been, in large part, about succeeding where last year failed. Even after all of last season’s off-field distractions, the Dolphins were 8-6 with two weeks to play. A win in either of their final two games would have ended their postseason drought.
But Miami fell flat. The Bills and Jets blew the Dolphins out by a combined score of 39-7.
And Tannehill got much of the blame. He completed just 45 percent of his passes in those games, averaged 143 yards passing and threw three times as many interceptions as touchdowns.
Why the regression? It wasn’t some unexpected defensive game plan that got him out of sorts, Tannehill said.
“I just think we weren’t making plays,” he explained. “There’s got to be a switch that turns on and gets things rolling. In those games I felt like we weren’t out of them. We were playing terribly, but we were never out of [those games] until the very, very end.
“ ‘By, the next drive, we’re going to get things going and get points on the board and go from there,’ ” Tannehill recalled. “We just have to make that happen.”
It’s the sort of thing Marino did dozens of times. His 36 career fourth-quarter comebacks are second to only Peyton Manning since 1960.
“We’re lucky to have that kind of history in our organization,” Tannehill said. “I’m lucky to have that knowledge to be able to go to them and ask them things and how they handled certain circumstances.”
This and that